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Dickinson Room

Dickinson family, collector. Dickinson family artifacts, circa 1785-1880: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Emily Dickinson Room
Call No.: Dickinson Room
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Dickinson family, collector.
Title: Dickinson family artifacts,
Date(s): 1785-1880.
Quantity: 1 collection (approximately 20 linear feet (68 items)
Quantity: Extent is approximate.
Abstract: Furniture, jewelry, drawings, paintings, and other objects that belonged to the Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Some objects belonged to the poet Emily Dickinson.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Purchased from Alfred Leete Hampson with funds given by Gilbert H. Montague, class of 1901, in happy memory of Amy Angell Collier Montague; received: 1950 May.
Some objects were given to the Library after 1950; this is noted with the individual item entries.

Processing Information:

Descriptions prepared by Nan Wolverton, 2007.

Conditions Governing Access:

The Dickinson Room and many of these objects can be viewed by guided tour Fridays at 2:00 p.m.
Examination of objects in the Houghton Reading Room requires advance notice, and the permission of the curator.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Dickinson Family Artifacts, circa 1785-1880 (Dickinson Room). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

These objects, most of which are on permanent display in the Dickinson Room at Houghton Library, were included as part of the acquisition of the Dickinson papers in 1950. At the time of the purchase, the artifacts were physically located at The Evergreens, many displayed in "The Emily Room" created by Martha Dickinson Bianchi to memorialize her aunt, the poet Emily Dickinson. Most of these artifacts were originally located at the Dickinson Homestead prior to its sale by Martha Dickinson Bianchi in 1916.


Some portrait paintings described in: Stebbins, Theodore. American paintings at Harvard, volume 1: paintings, watercolors, and pastels by artists born before 1826. Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge. Distributed by Yale University Press, New Haven. 2014.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

These artifacts were selected by Alfred and Mary Hampson in consultation with Library staff. The intent was and is to have on public display those objects most closely associated with Emily Dickinson, and to evoke a sense of the time and place in which her poetry was created. The Dickinson Room, in which these artifacts are displayed, does not recreate any particular room in the Homestead or The Evergreens, although many of the objects were displayed at one time in "The Emily Room" at The Evergreens. That room was created by Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the poet's niece, to memorialize Emily Dickinson.

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